BUFFALO, N.Y.—A fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Kyle Hoppy (Orchard Park/Orchard Park) to Ricky Bailey (Niagara Falls/Niagara Falls) proved to be the difference as Buffalo State edged past visiting Bridgewater for a 20-19 victory in today's non-conference season-opener at Coyer Field.
FINAL SCORE: Buffalo State – 20, Bridgewater State - 19
LOCATION: Coyer Field, Buffalo, N.Y.
RECORDS: Buffalo State (1-0), Bridgewater State (0-1)
INSIDE THE BENGAL BOX SCORE
- Hoppy finished 16 of 26 for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
- Bailey had two catches for 39 yards and the score, and Stephen Johnson (Buffalo/McKinley) added three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.
- Dale Stewart (Niagara Falls/Niagara Falls) led the Bengals on the ground with 18 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown before leaving with an injury in the third quarter.
- Bart Mazzara (Lockport/Starpoint) paced the Buffalo State defense with 10 tackles, while Paul Krowel (Amsterdam/BH-BL) had seven stops, including a sack and two tackles for loss.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- After forcing a turnover on downs on the game's opening possession, Buffalo State marched 69 yards on eight plays, capped by a 35-yard strike from Hoppy to Johnson to take an early 7-0 lead.
- Bridgewater answered with a 69-yard drive of its own to even the score at 7-7 with a 9-yard touchdown catch by Jack Lavanchy from Stefano D'Emilia.
- The Bengals scored again on their second possession of the game early in the second quarter when Stewart reversed fields on a pitch to the right and walked into the left side of the end zone for a 3-yard score.
- Buffalo State got the ball back on the very next play from scrimmage when Billy Carroll (Holtsville/Sachem East) fell on a loose ball from a strip by Cliff Brown (Buffalo/McKinley).
- The Bengals offense could not capitalize however and would stall from there for much of the remainder of the contest.
- Bridgewater completed the first-half scoring with a 1-yard run by Jonathan Marrero to conclude a 16-play, 79-yard drive with just 14 seconds left in the period. A missed extra point left the Bengals in front, 14-13, at the intermission.
- Buffalo State fumbled away its first possession of the second half, and the Bears took advantage of a short field to take their first lead of the game with a 23-yard reception by Brandon Giles from D'Emilia. Bridgewater led 19-14 after a failed two-point try.
- Defense and penalties were the story of much of the second half until Buffalo State's offense finally broke through with a 34-yard touchdown toss down the left sideline from Hoppy to Bailey. The Bengals were unable to convert a two-point try, leaving the advantage 20-19 with 6:58 remaining.
- A pair of penalties back the Bears into a third-and-24 on the next possession, before Darren Thompson (Buffalo/St. Joe's) came up with an interception near midfield.
- The Bengals successfully ran out the final 6:16 on the clock, aided by an offside penalty on a fourth-and-3, and then a 12-yard scramble by Hoppy on a third-and-8 to allow Buffalo State to assume victory formation to end the game.
- The teams combined for just 459 yards of total offense with the Bengals totaling 231, compared to 228 by Bridgewater.
- The Bears were assessed 13 penalties for 90 yards and Buffalo State had six for 59 yards.
- Buffalo State has won its season-opener for six-consecutive seasons.
FOR THE FOES
- D'Emilia finished 8 of 20 for 84 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in shared duty under center.
- Marrero was 4 of 7 for 74 yards.
- Lavanchy was the leading receiver with four catches for 56 yards and a score.
- Alex McLaughlin had 108 total yards of offense with 53 on the ground on 20 carries and 55 on a pair of receptions.
- Charles McCarthy led the Bears on defense with 13 tackles.
Buffalo State will enjoy its bye next week before opening Empire 8 play at Morrisville State on Sept. 16.